Ohtani outduels Manoah as Angels shut out Blue Jays for 2nd straight game
Los Angeles pitcher gives up 2 hits, strikes out 9 in 7 innings of work
Shohei Ohtani refused to allow the good vibrations from the 30th reunion of the 1992 World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays to mushroom to the current club on Saturday.
Ohtani versus Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah, plus the reunion, provided quite the atmosphere.
Joe Carter, Dave Winfield, Dave Stieb, manager Cito Gaston and other members from the 1992 Blue Jays were feted with a pre-game ceremony, creating a buzz among the 45,311 spectators at Rogers Centre.
"Regardless of being home or away, when the crowd is electric like this, as a player, I love pitching in those types of situations," said Ohtani (11-8), the reigning American League MVP.
World Series Champs from ‘92 til infinity 🏆 <a href="https://t.co/UOzqTtat1k">pic.twitter.com/UOzqTtat1k</a>—@BlueJays
Ohtani wins marquee matchup
The Angels (54-73) shut out the Blue Jays (68-57) for the second straight time to open the three-game series.
Manoah (12-7) also lasted seven innings with four hits on 105 pitches, eight strikeouts and two walks. However, the reunion and facing Ohtani didn't change his approach.
"Every game is game seven of the World Series for me," Manoah said. "It doesn't matter if Ohtani was on the mound over there or Roger Clemens. My job was to come out and compete. Give the team my all and do everything I can to try and get us the win.
"Seeing [the 1992 team] come back and celebrating was pretty amazing. So hopefully, we can return to work and try and do the same thing."
Angels shortstop Andrew Velazquez gave his team some breathing room with a two-out homer to right field in the ninth inning off reliever Anthony Bass.
Velazquez 🤠<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoHalos?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoHalos</a> <a href="https://t.co/wzGOjmAGx1">pic.twitter.com/wzGOjmAGx1</a>—@Angels
The Angels snatched a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning. David Fletcher led off with a single to left and advanced to second after a walk to Mike Trout.
With Fletcher now at third, Luis Rengifo singled to left to score his teammate.
Ohtani retired 11 consecutive from striking out Alejandro Kirk to end the third inning to fanning Bo Bichette to begin the seventh inning. However, the streak ended when Velazquez bobbled a Cavan Biggio grounder for an error.
Manoah and Ohtani did not yield a run through five innings, with the Blue Jays starter and his counterpart surrendering two hits apiece.
Toronto avoided danger in the fifth inning when rookie Ryan Aguilar squeezed a line drive down the right-field line for a double. But Angels third-base coach Mike Gallego waived Aguilar to take an extra base. He was tossed out with a perfect throw from right-fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
George Springer also played centre field for the first time since returning from the disabled list because of a right elbow injury 10 games ago.
Springer extended his hit streak to 11 games with a leadoff single to left in the first inning.
Interim Toronto manager John Schneider was ejected in the top of the eighth inning for arguing the final pitch of Mike Ford's walk to load the bases.